Download e-book for kindle: A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western by Robert Friedel

By Robert Friedel

ISBN-10: 0262062623

ISBN-13: 9780262062626

Why does know-how swap over the years, how does it switch, and what distinction does it make? during this sweeping, formidable examine 1000 years of Western adventure, Robert Friedel argues that technological swap comes mostly during the pursuit of improvement--the deep-rooted trust that issues should be performed in a greater manner. What Friedel calls the "culture of development" is manifested each day within the methods humans perform their projects in life--from tilling fields and elevating teenagers to waging war.Improvements could be ephemeral or lasting, and one person's development won't continuously be considered as such through others. Friedel stresses the social tactics through which we outline what advancements are and choose which advancements will final and with a purpose to no longer. those strategies, he emphasizes, have created either winners and losers in history.Friedel offers a chain of narratives of Western expertise that commence within the 11th century and stretch into the twenty-first. known figures from the historical past of invention are joined by means of others--the Italian preacher who defined the 1st eyeglasses, the dairywomen displaced from their regulate over cheesemaking, and the little-known engineer who first steered a grand tower to Gustav Eiffel. Friedel lines expertise from the plow and the printing press to the inner combustion engine, the transistor, and the distance commute. Friedel additionally reminds us that religion in development can occasionally have terrible effects, as more suitable weaponry makes war ever extra lethal and the force for bettering people may end up in eugenics or even genocide. the main entire try and inform the tale of Western know-how in lots of years, engagingly written and lavishly illustrated, A tradition of development files the ways that the force for development has formed our sleek global.

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The place of the horse in the history of medieval improvement stems not only from the horse’s contribution to key activities such as farming and warfare, but also from the horse’s place in the emerging systems of technique and technical knowledge. The fact that some horses found in certain areas of the world possessed qualities distinct from those found elsewhere was widely known earlier, but in the Middle Ages we see the emergence of a more systematic categorization of horses and the development of methods for improving the categories themselves.

Little surprise, then, that the evidence for the first windmills comes from just these areas. Indeed, while the evidence is scant, it is possible that the windmill was an indigenous invention of this section of England. If so, the windmill has claim to be the single most important and original technical contribution of this part of Europe. While some have claimed that the mechanism of the medieval windmill was so close to that of watermills that it represented a limited technical advance, this seems to underestimate considerably both the leap of technical imagination required and the range of technical problems that had to be overcome.

These shares were bought and sold, just like stock, and their value fluctuated depending on the condition of the individual mill, the state of trade and agriculture, and even speculation. At first most shares were owned by the millers themselves, who had arranged for mill construction and placement and who were in charge of daily operations. But with the greatly increased expenses of the dams, and associated financial burdens and uncertainties, millers began selling their shares to wealthier townsmen, who could deal with the fluctuations in value and expenses and hold out for the longer term profits of the mills.

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A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western Millennium by Robert Friedel


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